Marriage in Honor - Dr. W.G. de Vries
|Dr. W.G. de Vries (1926-2006) wasa minister in the Reformed churches in the Netherlands.He received his doctorate from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Churches in Kampen.He was also editor of Petahja, a monthly publication for the Reformed Men's Societies in the Netherlands.|
The first question that must be asked about the number of children in a marriage is this: Does God's command to be fruitful mean that man must multiply without limit? It is a remarkable fact that, unlike the animals, man is directly addressed in this command. About the animals we read: "And God blessed them saying, 'Be fruitful. . . ' " Of man we read: ". . . and God said unto them, 'Be fruitful' . . ." (Gen. 1:22 and 28).
God speaks directly to man's responsibility, making him as accountable for the fruitfulness of his marriage, as for all his ways and works.
Man is not an animal without responsibility, without calling or the ability to judge according to the Scriptures. Man is addressed by God in His covenant. To him God has given promises; God makes demands upon him. Man's responsibility in the begetting of children is not merely biological. No, man is consciously involved because of his faith and his awareness of his calling.
When Scripture strongly emphasizes that children are a gift of the Lord, it places the sovereign grace of God first. This does not contradict man's responsibility. just as God's grace in election does not exclude the activities of man, so they are not excluded in married life. Believing that God acts directly in our lives is not fatalism. Let me clarify this point.
The Lord can close the womb. Does this mean that a couple must then say: "God apparently does not want us to have children. We must resign ourselves to this."? That would be similar to the following fatalistic reasoning: 'We acknowledge that with His own hand God sends adversity and illness; therefore we are not permitted to do anything about it. Taking precautionary measures is tantamount to defying God; we may not call in a doctor, for who can withstand the will of God?"
We are familiar with this line of reasoning. It is still strong in some circles. It makes a caricature of divine omnipotence by playing it all against human responsibility. This nourishes the illusion that God and man are partners who work together on an equal footing.
When two people work together, if one does everything, the other need not do anything, and if the one does nothing, the other must do everything. These two poles mark fatalism and remonitrantism. The fatalist says: "God does everything so I do nothing." The remonstrant says: "Man himself believes and works; God is an onlooker." Both make the serious mistake of thinking humanly about the sovereignty of God.
In one word, God says about these two: work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:12, 13). That also applies to the salvation Paul mentions when he says: "Yet woman will be saved through bearing children . . ." (I Tim. 2:15). Together with her husband, she must work out this salvation as God works it in her.
Let us return to the case of the "closed womb." If after a time it appears that a couple is unable to have children, there are steps they can take. They may see a doctor who may be able to discover and possibly remedy a certain defect which hinders childbearing. This couple then acts in accordance with God's command to "work out their salvation" by making use of the means He has supplied.
Now the same thing applies when God opens the womb and childbearing becomes a joyous possibility. When a child has been born and received by father and mother with great joy and thankfulness to the Lord, the parents must consider when the next child can arrive. They must apply God-given intelligence to this question. As in every task and calling in life, all circumstances must be carefully weighed, for the command to fruitfulness is given to man as a responsible creature of God.
When the Lord says, "Be fruitful" does this mean that man must multiply thoughtlessly? Should married life be a continual endeavor to reproduce?
The gift of fertility is bound to marriage. Responsible human beings are thoroughly involved in this. They choose their partners and the solemnization of marriage even though Scripture encourages them to think of each other as gifts from God.
Likewise, people may profess that God gave them children. However, it is also possible to willfully and unlawfully "take" children. If unmarried young people reach for that to which they are not entitled, does God give them a child or do they willfully take it? What I mean to say is this: The gift of fertility can be snatched as "plunder." Then it is forfeited as a gift and blessing. The calling and the right to reproduce are bound and limited by ordinances of God for marriage.
We will return to the young couple who have received their first child. Do these parents exclude God's blessing if together they discuss when the next baby will come? Should they not consider their circumstances in the light of God's Word?
The circumstances will differ with each couple. One mother may have suffered more during childbirth than another. A great loss of blood, for instance, may have resulted in anemia. Should the sexual urge be given free reign, so that another pregnancy soon develops? An appeal to Psalm 127-"children are an inheritance of the Lord" - would be a misuse of Scripture in this case.
Such parents must wait with a new pregnancy until the mother has recovered sufficiently. Both partners must consider this. The husband is responsible for the spiritual and physical health of his wife. The wife bears responsibility for her own mind and body and both bear responsibility for their child and those that will be born to them in the future.
Consider another case. A woman has suffered a serious kidney infection during pregnancy, a time when great strain is placed on the kidney. It may be a long time before the infected kidney is completely healed. Even with complete recovery, the kidney will not be able to withstand extra stress in the future. In such a case, is it permissible to allow a second pregnancy soon after the first? The question is rhetorical!
Certainly such exceptional cases happen more often than one may think. Every marriage situation is different and likely no Christian will deny that these and similar factors must be carefully considered.
For those who believe, God's gift of fertility clearly does not mean heedless, unlimited, uninterrupted reproduction. Scripture plainly teaches us so. God Himself taught the people of Israel that there are times when they had to abstain from sexual intercourse. He taught that the command to be fruitful in no way implied unlimited, uninterrupted sexual intercourse.
When we are told in Exodus 19 that the people of Israel had to prepare themselves to meet the Lord, we hear that they had to, among other things, abstain from marital intercourse. When a woman became a mother and had received a son, she remained unclean for seven and thirtythree days. If she had a daughter, this period lasted twice as longeighty days. During that time a husband was not allowed to have sexual intercourse with her. This divine decree made it practically impossible to have two children within one year (Leviticus 12).
Whoever was unclean was not allowed to participate in the worship service. Since according to Leviticus 15:18, coitus made someone unclean until evening, whoever went to the temple had to abstain from marital intercourse on the previous day.
When fleeing from King Saul, David came to the priest Abimelech who was willing to give him shewbread on the condition that he and his men had abstained from marital intercourse (I Sam. 21). David answered: "Of a truth women have been kept from us, as always when 1 go on an expedition."
Even when the army went to battle the commandment remained in force: "No marital intercourse beforehand." The war which Israel waged was a holy battle for the Lord and the preservation of His people. The struggle was so holy that before returning to normal life, the participants had to stay outside the camp for seven days in order to purify themselves (compare Numbers 31:16-24). For the duration of the war abstinence from marital intercourse was ordered.
All this is not to say that sexual life in itself is wrong. If that were the case the Lord would not have used marriage as an image of the relationship between Himself and His people. Nevertheless, by means of such regulations His people had to learn that they were separated from the other nations and belonged exclusively to the Lord. Anything reminiscent of death, such as the blood a woman lost with the birth of a child, had to be kept away from life which the Lord seeks and saves. Sin, especially sexual sin, had become so excessive that God wanted to teach the young nation of Israel to "be holy, for I am holy."
Moreover, the heathen religions of those days incorporated abominable fertility cults. Men committed shameful acts not only with women but also with men as they worshiped the god and goddess of fertility. This was called cultic prostitution. While heathen worship included sexual excesses, God commanded His people: *abstain from marital intercourse prior to your worship services; you are to be entirely different."
We will not elaborate on this now. Our concern is with the periods of abstinence which the Lord imposed upon married people on various occasions. The New Testament in I Corinthians 7 speaks of temporary abstinence.
In this way the Lord taught His people moderation. Moderation has a place in a Christian marriage. The command to be fruitful may not usurp moderation, and it must be understood in the context of what the Lord teaches us through Scripture.
We can see now that the command to be fruitful does not mean that every marriage should produce a maximum number of children. The Lord does not mean unlimited fruitfulness. God Himself points to times when the marriage obligations must make way for other obligations. Temporary abstinence may be a duty in marriage. Carelessness in marriage is forbidden by God; He commands concern.
A certain fatalism exists where one simply lets nature take its course. The begetting of children really has to be begetting and not simply the inevitable. Becoming pregnant must not be an unpleasant surprise; it must be an act of love and faith.
Some sort of family planning is part of our calling to be fellow workers with God. His precepts include the responsibility of husband and wife in reproduction. Their strength, health, family life, and other factors that differ from family to family must all be taken into account.
Having a sense of responsibility for reproduction is different from willfully controlling the number of children born. Responsibility to God is not self-will. One must not be led by selfish considerations to decide when the next child may come and how many there may be under God's blessing. Today many couples are motivated by completely selfish reasons which seem to be reinforced by scientific evidence. Already in the days of John Calvin, well-to-do families limited the number of children in order to save the family fortune.
The fear of over-population is certainly not the only or even the most important motive for limiting the number of children one has. It is a generally known fact that in Western Europe birth control by artificial means occurs most frequently among those who want to combine a reasonable income with a more than reasonable standard of living.
In prosperous countries, birth control increases the fastest. For this reason Dr. Adenauer once called the German nation one of the most dissatisfied in the world. Why? Because its people always wanted more for the price of less children. Their thirst for more could not be quenched; consequently it seemed that the country would die of old age in forty years' time. Other countries would outlive it. And the most prosperous of those nations, such as Switzerland and Sweden, also top the list in birth control figures.
Two terms have been mentioned so far, family Planning and birth control. Family planning occurs when responsible persons influence the number of children by determining the frequency with which children may be born. Family planning does not mean that one wants to limit the number of children to a certain maximum number. Family planning is based on the desire to have the optimum number of children -as many as possible, taking into account the health of the mother, the possibilities of the family, and one's responsibility to the Lord.
Birth control means the wilful limitation of children for reasons that are not valid before God. It appears that the whole world practices birth control for the wrong reasons. In some countries this is even encouraged by the government; birth control is publicly advocated through radio and television. Posters reading "Public Enemy No. 1: Overpopulation" are prominently displayed.
We tread on very dangerous ground here. Even those using the word optimum to guide them in planning their family are in danger of reasoning only from the point of view of man and his needs. They risk trying to make the law of God fit their circumstances. The dangers of covetousness, laziness, and being worldly-minded lurk around the corner.
The person pleading for a responsible way of forming a family must be aware of the craftiness of his own heart. How often is the term "optimum" used to cover up one's own selfish intentions? How often is this argument heard: "We cannot feed more mouths. Soon the world will not be able to provide enough food for all those hungry mouths. "
Today we are confronted with such reasoning supported by scientific arguments. If we want to keep the way open for responsible family planning, we must distinguish very sharply between motives that are valid before God and those which are not.
This argument lies outside direct family life. It is derived from "population politics" and is already quite old. The English clergyman Thomas Malthus published a study on population growth in 1789 (approximately at the time of the French revolution!) which claimed that means of food production increased in mathematical progression and the population in geometrical progression. The population would grow from one to four to eight to sixteen and so on, while the food supply would increase only from one to two to three to four to five, etc. Thus production would never keep up with the population increase, and the earth would eventually be unable to feed its inhabitants. To prevent the catastrophe of a massive famine, he advised married couples to voluntarily abstain from sexual intercourse.
Malthus' calculations proved to be incorrect. Today it is evident that the oceans as well as the earth offer almost endless possibilities for providing food. The food problem seems to be more of a socioeconomic one: how do we distribute the available food? In India, for instance, the goverment strongly propogates birth control. This country would certainly be able to feed its population if agrarian reform measures were taken and if the idolatry that spares harmful foodconsuming animals would disappear.
We do not deny that the food problem is difficult, and that the matter of future food supplies has been insufficiently studied. We do say, however, that we cannot say that our children will not have enough to eat in fifteen or twenty years' time. That depends on more factores than any science can foresee. The misconceptions of Malthus make us all the more wary of judging things according to the results of a certain science.
In the framework of a project by the Club of Rome, which published ominous studies about the world food supply, professors H. Linneman and J. de Hoogh have studied the possibilities of how our earth could feed a doubled world population. They have calculated what the maximum food production of the world could be under ideal circumstances. It has become apparent to them that the limitation of natural resources is not the most important cause of the hunger in the world. Under perfect circumstances a thirtyfold increase of the world food production would be possible. If we take these figures with a pinch of salt -perfect circumstances do not exist -it appears that the fear of worldwide famine due to overpopulation is in any case not justified. The pressing problems lie in political, social, and economic areas. How do we distribute the yield and the prosperity? The present food production is high enough to feed everyone properly, if only the food were distributed equally to all.
Moreover, the idea that all problems of overpopulation would be solved if each married couple were only to have two or three children is incorrect. It is not that simple.
Population experts point out that with a considerable decrease in the number of children and the contemporary increase, thanks to modem medicine, in average lifespan, the proportions of population in society would be seriously disturbed. The old would outnumber the young; relatively few people would have to perform productive labor for too many others. Problems of housing, schools, defense, social insurance, national health, science, and so forth, would mushroom. There is great uneasiness -and this is also the other side of the coin -about the swift decline in the birthrate in such countries as France with its few children and lonely and deserted villages.
Who would underestimate the difficulties resulting from inadequate housing? Even modem apartments are often not designed for a large family. With one, two, or at most three children, their limited space is more than filled.
This problem plagues many young families, and they need a solution. The solution may be to get a bigger house, although this might be very difficult. Yet one should not take the course of least resistance in this matter by limiting family size to house size. The house must serve the family and not the other way around. A large house doesn't necessarily solve the problem, however. The question to consider should be: "What weighs heaviest, the convenience of a small apartment compared to an old house, or the freedom to have as many children as one wishes?"
What specific actions can the younger couples themselves take? They might deny themselves luxuries such as televisions, motorbikes, and expensive furniture, in order to save for their own house. Or they might be satisfied with a few children using limited space as a reason for not having more. "Difficulties exist to be overcome:" that certainly applies to housing, doesn't it. The excuse of housing to limit
one's number of children is undergirded by the affluence of our society and is a difficulty that can be overcome. Therefore, no matter how overwhelming the difficulties may appear, let no one follow the path of least resistance by using a housing shortage as an argument for birth control.
As has been previously stated, the married couple may not practice birth control for reasons outside the marriage and outside the direct responsibility they have in their marriage and family towards God. What responsible reasons might there be for practicing birth control?
In any marriage medical circumstances may prevent sexual intercourse. What husband would insist on sexual intercourse with a wife who has a high fever and is sick with pneumonia? The situation is much the same when the wife suffers from tuberculosis, a heart defect which has recently been corrected, or certain degrees of diabetes. To cause pregnancy under such conditions would put her life in great danger and therefore conflict with the sixth commandment.
There are other cases which seem to be less clear. A delicate woman who has had several successive pregnancies can be both mentally and physically run down. The weight of a new pregnancy might well result in a complete nervous and physical breakdown. Can one in conscience then endanger one's wife with another pregnancy?
P. Jasperse has correctly pointed out that a husband who treats his wife in this way treats her worse than the Lord requires of the farmer in connection with his land. It has to be given a year's "rest" once every seven years according to Exodus 23: 10.
Another possible motive for limiting one's family arises when certain "problem" children require all of their parents' attention. Parents who take seriously their promise to instruct their children in the Lord can have their hands full keeping their children on the right path. Under these circumstances the parents may well ask themselves: "Are we justified in having more children; will we be able to manage?"
The trap of selfishness must be recognized here. Where children are seen as a troublesome hindrance rather than as a blessing, one may very quickly say: "We can not handle anymore children." Today there is more reason than ever to emphasize the blessing rather than the bane of having children. Yet how many do not reason this way: "Children cost money; with any more we won't be able to go out as often as we would like, or travel and visit."
Those parents who are sorely tried by mental and physical illness or because they have received children who demand a tremendous amount of insight and patience because of their physical defects or special character difficulties, are in great need. An awareness of their calling prompts such parents to limit their families because they want to maintain and bring them up with honor and with God. They are not lazy. If they have reached their physical or emotional limit can they not say: "We cannot have any more children if we want to fulfill our promise to God"?
However, we must distinguish between cases in which the prohibition against having children is only temporary due to the illness of the wife or cases where it is permanent. If it concerns a prohibition of only a few months, allowing the wife to regain her strength after childbirth. complete or periodical abstinence is the answer. Periodical abstinence (as distinguished from complete abstinence), is, in my opinion, wholly in accordance with Scripture which more than once commands periods of abstinence. They belong to the moderation that adorns a marriage. The couple temporarily abstains because they love one another.
This self-denying love must not be replaced by some form of contraceptive. When that appears on the scene, love has usually failed. Methods of preventing pregnancy temporarily or permanently will be dealt with later. Here we will pass on only one exception to the above rule. A doctor cannot simply advise abstinence when the sex urge is strong and practicably uncontrollable. In this particular situation, the least harmful method of contraception may be used. But this must not be done on one's own initiative but only on a doctor's advice.
If having children is forbidden for a long period of time or perhaps even permanently, the problems faced are of a totally different nature. Fortunately this seldom occurs. The number of cases in which pregnancy can endanger the life of the mother are becoming increasingly fewer. Many illnesses have no harmful effects on a pregnancy. Yet, although the number of dangerous cases has been reduced, they do occur. Naturally, such a radical prohibition should be made only by a competent doctor.
One method of preventing pregnancy for a couple who may not have children because of medical difficulties is complete abstinence. Those who advise this do not do so lightly. They are deeply aware of the great difficulties and tensions this can cause between husband and wife.
The Scriptures say: "But if they cannot exercise selfcontrol, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passions" (I Cor. 7:9). Some people, not wishing to minimize the difficulties, still believe that complete abstinence is the only method of preventing pregnancy that agrees with the Bible.
They say that those who go the way of contraceptives begin a course that can easily lead from one unnatural act to another. It is only a small step from the crude technique of coitus interruptus to sophisticated modern contraceptives and from these to masturbation, to experiments with the unmarried, and to homosexuality. Some even see a connection between the widespread use of contraceptives in marriage and the recurring complaint that spiritual life is becoming Poorer. It is true that an ebbing spiritual life is possible when one's motives for restricting one's number of children are not ethically valid.
To defend total abstinence an appeal is made to certain situations, in which others have to bear the burden. There is the Christian sailor on long voyages who seldom comes home; there are those who fought away from home during the last World War, there is the man whose wife has been sick or incurably insane for many years.
But why are these comparisons not valid? In our case we are dealing with a couple who for medical reasons may not have children; this husband and wife share their whole life, their entire house-living room and bedroom. They are constantly together. Making complete abstinence a reasonable possibility would involve a drastic change in their life including a separation of beds and bedrooms. Such drastic change would have serious repercussions on their total physical and spiritual relationship.
Certainly there are those who have made this sacrifice with Christian courage. Who would not respect them deeply for it? But if contraceptives are considered unnatural, the question immediately arises: "Is it not unnatural that husband and wife are no longer one in the flesh? Is the latter less unnatural than the first? Does it not foster disorder in the whole marriage?"
Marriage is the complete communion of body and spirit. Refraining from sexual intercourse over a long period of time is an enormous encroachment on married life that can not always be borne without spiritual damage. The uniqueness of marriage is that two have become one flesh. This two-oneness is threatened by an abstinence which is almost impossible to carry out.
However much one can respect those couples who see abstinence as the only justifiable solution for them, one cannot claim that complete abstinence is ethically superior to any other solution. The Bible does not speak of a calling to abstinence within marriage; on the contrary, foremost stands the command: "Do not refuse one another" (1 Cor. 7:5). Exception to this may only be by agreement for a season.
Note that exception by agreement is restricted by the words, "for a season." Complete abstinence is even rejected as being dangerous: "that Satan tempt you not for lack of self-control."
Certainly the love of Christ gives strength for self-denial when temporary abstinence is necessary. But those who defend complete abstinence counting on Christ's strength for self-denial turn the marriage communion into an individualistic matter. They do not do justice to the twooneness of marriage in which sexual surrender is one of the clearest expressions of love. In a good marriage one does not sacrifice sexual passion. That is more unnatural than any other preventive measure could be.
Moreover, self-control easily becomes egocentric. The dubious strength derived from the lack of physical tokens of communion can easily result in less intimacy and tenderness, and the love contact may become superficial. This is especially so if in one of the two the need for physical contact is already slight and can easily be evaded.
Those who advise abstinence may well suppose that the sexual union exists within marriage in order to satisfy the sexual urge in an orderly manner. The conclusion is selfevident: if no more children may be born, let the sexual urge be controlled out of love. Yet this is a misunderstanding of sexual intercourse. It is exactly the other way around: the love in a marriage needs the act of sexual union in order for one to give oneself to the other, in order to express oneself overwhelmingly and deeply. Marriage is robbed of one of its most intense expressions of love if one completely abstains from intercourse. Therefore abstention is detrimental to all areas of married life.
When complete abstinence is rejected, the question arises, "What then?" This question also crops up in marriages where pregnancy may not occur for a long or short period of time for reasons valid before the Lord. Naturally we have in mind those couples who highly value the gift of children and see them as a blessing from the Lord, but who cannot receive them. It goes without saying that abstinence may not be a matter of convenience for people who don't want to be tied down or who think they can look into the future and say they don't want to be guilty of adding to the growing overpopulation. Such motives have already been rejected. We are instead speaking of married people who really experience Christian sorrow when their doctor says they are not allowed to have more children.
Evidently it is almost impossible for happily married people not ever to have intercourse. If in faith they believe that God gave them to each other to become one flesh, unbearable tensions arise if physical union is eliminated. In such cases a doctor can and must help. When another pregnancy is permanently or temporarily forbidden, he will usually inquire about the religious conviction of the patient and take that into account.
Naturally, the doctor must only speak in his capacity as physician. He may not impose his own opinions about the desirable size of a family. No doubt too many doctors are influenced by the present birth control mentality and too hastily advise against more children. For that reason one should look for a Christian doctor who conscientiously keeps within the limits of medical authority.
A doctor will be able to suggest an appropriate method of birth control if another pregnancy must be avoided for the time being or permanently. Such means must be considered medical remedies for a medical problem. Those who object that in such a case a doctor should advise complete abstinence forget an important point. They forget that abstinence is but one method of birth control and an unnatural and not particularly ideal one. Regular intercourse is not a matter of secondary importance in a good marriage; it is essential to it. It is not the main part, the one and only part, but nevertheless it is a very good part.
One must then consider other solutions whereby sexual intercourse can be maintained. (Keep in mind that nearly all contraceptives have drawbacks, physical as well as spiritual.) Each method can be found described in detail in every encyclopedia. It is often stated that the motives for preventing pregnancy temporarily or permanently are what matters, not the difference between one method and the next. They are all means of prevention. The only exception is the loop which is more an abortion, since it prevents the fertilized egg from embedding in the wall of the uterus. The objections against induced abortion which are discussed later are also in force here. But even though such objections cannot be brought against the usual contraceptives, still, not every method is justifiable for every couple, even when their motives are ethically correct.
Some methods demand such manipulation before cohabitation that little or nothing is left of the chastity that should be maintained in a marriage. Other ways can be discovered to prevent children from coming too quickly after each other. They will be more fully discussed later on.
There is one contraceptive that the doctor may prescribe which is so commonly used today that more lengthy discussion is necessary.
"The pill," as it is commonly called, contains among other things a synthetic substance almost identical to the hormone that circulates in a woman's bloodstream during pregnancy and prevents any more ova from maturing during this period. For that reason no other pregnancy can occur besides the one already begun.
The pill is so widely used today that supplying it on medical prescriptions paid by the National Health Insurance Plan in the Netherlands caused an increase of 10 per cent in the number of users at a cost of approximately twenty million guilders. The pill seems to be the most simple and effective method of preventing pregnancy.
The number of married couples using the pill to limit their number of children cannot even be estimated. Neither is it possible to determine how many unmarried couples use this method to make possible an unrestrained sexual relationship.
The pill increases the demoralization of the world in which we and our children live. Are there not parents who rejoice in the fact that their daughters are using the pill so that no "accidents" can happen when they go on vacation? The pill certainly leads to unrestrained sexual relationships between young people and therefore causes irreparable spiritual damage.
The actual misuse of the pill is not really the point of the discussion. At the moment we are concerned with what a doctor can prescribe when childbirth would endanger the mother's life or if the vow made by parents at baptism would be impossible to carry out.
The use of the pill, even in legitimate cases, is not without harmful consequences. In most cases however, it can be without severe disadvantages. A book by Barbara Seaman contains alarming information about the side effects caused by long-term use of the pill. Even taking into account any exaggerations this book might contain, it is significant to note that a well-known gynecologist writes in the introduction: "Many other medicines bring risks with their beneficial influence. These have to be accepted if the illness is to be cured. However, with the oral contraceptive, a patient is not involved, but a healthy woman" (W. P. Plate).
This doctor had earlier written: "I am afraid that women will use it as aspirin. Control by a physician remains necessary; moreover, I believe that the pill must not be used for too long a time." Why not? It is hard to believe that a method whereby the normal functioning of the woman is restrained is completely without danger. Plate says: 'We are working hard to prove that the pill is not completely harmless."
The results of ten or twenty years of continuous use of the pill cannot yet be predicted. The press announced in 1975 that the American Food and Drug Control Commission had advised women over forty years of age not to use the pill because of the danger of blood clots and heart attacks.
It has also been established that there are emotional side effects as well. The pill appears to have a disastrous effect on the personalities of some women. They complain about becoming aggressive, about having no patience with their children, about losing interest in life and seeing their faith deteriorate.
Another disadvantage of the pill is that it must be taken every day. Each day the woman is reminded not to become pregnant, and she must face what that means.
One cannot but conclude that the pill is not at all the ideal method of preventing pregnancy. Indeed, it is the easiest way, but for that reason, it is a great danger to the moral behavior of unmarried young people. This is particularly so when the pill can be obtained without a doctor's prescription.
Naturally, a non-physician can only pass on what has been written about this by the experts. As yet no concensus about the harmful side effects has appeared. No one has gone as far as to say that the pill hurts all women; however this remains an open question. Who can say what ruinous consequences for body and spirit the continuous use of this method of birth control might have? One cannot say too strongly that the pill must be used very carefully and not without consultation with a doctor.